Knife Choices /Top Knives/

I am confronted by Japanese knives almost daily, the single edge, double edge and so on. The idea of Global as a top knife is based on being amongst the first to market a single knife globally, hence global. I cannot say I feel shivers when I walk into their Tokyo shop, as I hate to think why so many chefs own these kinds of knives.

The choice of a knife is key in any kitchen, yet the choice should not be based on the knife’s look, it should be based on several factors. The first is the use of the knife, and in most cases chef’s have one all-purpose knife. There is nothing wrong with a single chef’s knife but you cannot work with one knife. The shape of a knife, the size, handle, and or the material its made from is equally as important. For example when you de-bone and clean a small fish, you require a smaller knife or when you slice radish paper think to make Tsuma.

The basic processes to make the blades are forging, shaping, heat treatment, grinding, polishing and honing. However, we heard that there are seven or eight other steps behind the processes, that other makers never know nor try to do.

Each knife fits a hand, the balance and the feel of the knife is also key in considering how to use it. So then what is it you want from a knife think about the edge and in order to determine which knife is best suited to your needs, think of your kitchen organization and how you work. If you have a sink nearby or aside your cutting board, it makes sense to work with a Japanese knife such as pictured. But at the same time, when you cut onion, its acid ingredients might cause blade discoloring or the rust. But the rust part on the blade does not affect foods, it is the character of carbon steel blade, and is not a defect.

Otherwise you will find it inconvenient to run back and forth to the sink to wipe your knife and if you forget to wipe it, you’ll find rust and almost immediately. Certain Japanese carbon while it is durable, it is brittle and sensitive to water ions and other chemicals in your water.

The glestain is a knife made in Japan and was launched in the early 1970’s. These knives go through a seven stage heat-treating process and the knife’s convex edge gives it smooth cutting performance. The special combination of a convex edge is unique to this knife. Their knives varying in weight from 150 to over 300grams and come in numerous shapes and sizes.

Another excellent knife is Misono, a Japanese brand producing professional knives for decades in Seki-city, the Japanese sword and knife capital. Hand forging Tamahagane where forging a knife is made with sand iron turns out some of the finest knives but it is rare to find true Tamahagane.

Misono as do other knife makers add Molybdenum to increase strength, hardness to the high carbon 13 chromium stainless steel. These knives are not suitable for most chefs and are very difficult to sharpen due to their composition. Misono as do other manufacturers feature the use of high carbon high pure tool steel from Sweden but I would avoid these types as they are often top-heavy and very challenging to sharpen.

There are other niche manufacturers such as kanetsugu who produce thinner blades of immense sharpness but then again, how sharp should a knife be? The answer is very sharp, and more importantly, it should remain sharp and be balanced. It is difficult to gain balance in a light knife and while it is easier to handle, it is certainly more dangerous.

The greatest myth in sharpness is in the sharpness itself; for example, I’ll take a Gude German knife, an excellent kitchen knife and super sharp if you test it over your nail. Now take a tomato and if I try to pierce the skin and obtain a think slice, it is does not work.

If I take my Japanese knife, a single sided edge, which means one side is at 90° degrees and the other side is 85° degrees for 2cm from the bottom and the knife’s surface finishes at the top at 90° degrees. This edge permits the first cut to easily pierce the tomato and glide through it finishing with ease.

When you select a knife you should think of symmetry or asymmetry. The V-shaped knifes is symmetrical while the Japanese is not. The main difference is in two basic facts, one is the ability to sharpen two sides equally is a challenge and when you see a chef using a steel to sharpen a knife, he is fooling himself as one side will be sharper than the other. The problem is which side and in which method do you cut if one side is sharper than the other. In the symmetrical knife it is hit and miss, while in the Japanese knife, you sharpen one side only, the side that cuts.In this movie you see a sushi master chef using a small knife to remove the bones.

Significant differences among knife handles also make them an important consideration when selecting a knife. Since a knife is an extension of the hand, a knife handle should be comfortable and designed to help prevent fatigue.

It should be shaped so that the grip is comfortable and secure and the orientation of the blade to the food is optimal. There should be plenty of knuckle clearance beneath the handle and most often there is.

In conclusion a knife is a life, and for many chefs they spend more time with their knife than they do with their loved ones. There is no reason to treat the selection of a knife casually and should you have any doubt when buying a knife, think twice and buy a knife that feels good in your hand, in the cutting position and in the ready position. Do not skimp on the quality and acquire a knife that needs care because it will remain sharper and respond to your needs more acutely.